What are you all about?

This week, my favourite co-facilitator (Phil!) and I led the second in a series of meetings with a client looking to define its purpose and supporting values. This is fascinating work and often leaves participants feeling energized and frustrated. It’s exciting but also difficult to zero in on what you’re all about because when you do it right, it forces you to give up some things that maybe you care about, in the required effort to be precise. The truth is, organizations that have too many values have a hard time living them. We’ve seen it a million times: they identify their values, hang them on a wall, and then forget about them. Or as bad, senior leaders (and as a result everyone else) pick the ones they can stand behind and ignore the rest.

To do it right, pick no more than five, and then get really good at living them.

This exercise caused me to think some more about my own values as they relate to Pivot. Since Pivot is me and a tight team of like-minded and talented friends, it makes sense that my values are Pivot’s values. I know Pivot’s purpose: to help make work not suck. We do this via communication, culture and change work. But what of Pivot’s values?

In our forthcoming book, my good friend and co-author Luisa and I talk at length about seven core behaviours that, when combined, help people make An Honest Living. Should I go with those given how passionate I feel about them, and how much we’ve done to hone our thinking around them? After some consideration, I think I will, because they’re pretty good and many of them latter up into the core value of integrity. This is handy because it helps me collapse the list and take my own advice to not have more than five. Also, it’s the value I cherish most.

So after working with a client to help them identify their values, I’ve also, finally, determined Pivot’s. Here they are, in no particular order (except for the first one of course):

We act with integrity – When you work with us, always expect honesty, accountability, trustworthiness, because that’s what you’ll get.

We act like and treat others as adults – We treat you like grown ups (unless you’re children or animals, and then we’re even nicer!), and expect you to do the same with us.

We are personal – We never hide behind “you can’t talk about THAT at work” – business IS personal. What you see friends is what you get.

We have a heart – We’re human, and so are you. We’ll always treat you as living, breathing, caring people with hearts and souls, not just minds. It’s good to love your clients and even better when they love you too!

Yay, Pivot now has purpose and values. I feel so grown up. But please don’t ask me about the vision (because yes, that is different than a purpose). It took me four years to get this far!